Jen’s Team WellerFest gears up for biggest fundraiser yet

A fundraising group – launched in support of a personal trainer from West Sussex who has 10 brain tumours – is gearing up for its next event.

Team WellerFest’s latest challenge is its biggest yet and forms part of a year-long series of fundraisers for the charities Brain Tumour Research and ALK Positive UK. It came about following Jenny Weller’s shock terminal cancer diagnosis at the age of 35.

In September 2020, a few days after suffering a seizure at home, the personal trainer from Burgess Hill was diagnosed with a primary tumour in her lung and five secondary tumours in her brain, as well as others in her neck and pelvis. She underwent a craniotomy to remove the largest of her brain tumours and used targeted drug therapy to try and slow the growth of her others.

In September 2021 progression of her tumours saw her undergo a three-week course of radiotherapy but in December it was revealed she had developed a further nine brain tumours. Although four of the original brain tumours had not returned, she found out nine new tumours had appeared and there had been growth at one of the sites previously treated.

WellerFest’s first event in September 2021 marked a year since Jenny’s initial diagnosis and involved members abseiling down Portsmouth’s iconic Spinnaker Tower. Towards the end of November they organised The Big Dip in Hove after which its swimmers were encouraged to take to the sea on each day of advent.

Now the group is combining three big challenges; cycling John O’Groats to Land’s End, climbing to the summit of Snowdon and ziplining Velocity 2, the fastest zip line in the world.

Each one will involve different participants and any of the charities’ supporters, staff, volunteers, friends or patients interested in taking part are encouraged to do so.

The cyclists, including Andy Jackson, whose wife Loz is part of the support crew, and Jenny’s step-son Paul, will be setting off on 30 March, joined by others at various stages along the way. They plan to celebrate reaching their halfway point with the group’s mountaineers in Snowdonia six days later, ahead of the Velocity 2 challenge taking place on 5 April.

Jenny’s health has deteriorated in recent months but she is aiming, if possible, to support the group by completing 10-15 miles per day on her e-bike and is desperately hoping to be able to climb Snowdon.

She said: “I will absolutely do whatever I’m capable of. It’s just a case of not knowing what that’ll be until much nearer the time. Climbing Snowdon is one of those things I said I must do when I was diagnosed and I didn’t really think at the time I wouldn’t be able to do it so it’s been a real eye-opener the last couple of months – there’ve been some days I’ve really struggled to walk 10 minutes.”

 She added: “We’re pretty much ready to go now. Everyone’s brought their own skills to this and done an absolutely sterling job organising it. Last week we put our jackets in for printing with our sponsors’ logos, which was really exciting. Sizeable donations have come from Bespoke Ventilation, CLP Air Group, Halfords, Helios, HMA Ventilation, Meiko and Waitrose.

 “The guys have all been training so hard; they’ve been putting some serious miles in so we’re good to go and on a bit of a countdown now – it’s going to be a great way to finish Brain Tumour Awareness Month.”

Brain tumours kill more children and adults under the age of 40 than any other cancer yet historically just 1% of the national spend on cancer research has been allocated to this devastating disease.

Charlie Allsebrook, community development manager for Brain Tumour Research, said: “We’re really grateful for the support of Jen and Team WellerFest whose extraordinary fundraising efforts have already raised more than £13,000 towards vital research into brain tumours. Their positivity and creativity in coming up with their challenges is incredibly inspiring. We wish them the best of luck and look forward to hearing all about it and anything else they’ve got up their sleeves for the coming months.”

Brain Tumour Research funds sustainable research at dedicated centres in the UK. It also campaigns for the Government and the larger cancer charities to invest more in research into brain tumours in order to speed up new treatments for patients and, ultimately, to find a cure. The charity is the driving force behind the call for a national annual spend of £35 million in order to improve survival rates and patient outcomes in line with other cancers such as breast cancer and leukaemia and is also campaigning for greater repurposing of drugs.

To support WellerFest’s fundraising, visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/wellerfestjoglebtr or www.justgiving.com/fundraising/wellerfestsnowdonbtr.

Anyone interested in sponsorship opportunities or signing up for the group’s challenges can RSVP on the ‘events’ tab at www.wellerfest.com.

 

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